Bourton is, thankfully, not fitted out with a Starbucks, a Costa or a Ritazza. But we do both prefer more 'interesting' coffees than straight instant or filter ones, and so after a morning's strenuous window shopping, we thought teacakes and latte / mocha was in order. The Mad Hatter tea shop looked good from the outside, and inside had some good Alice-in-Wonderland murals, but everything else seemed a bit uncared for. The tables were peculiar as they were covered a large doily covered with a thick pane of glass. Probably easier to keep clean, but they made me uncomfortable, particularly as between the two were tucked large adverts for a local B&B. The teacakes were OK - though why do they always have to go cold so quickly? - but the drinks weren't. Delivered in mean-sized tea cups, which bothered Martha, the froth on the top looked suspiciously artificial, and the liquid appeared to have any coffee and milk that once been in there filtered out. I hardly ever complain in places, but this time I didn't drink or pay for it.We went in search of a better one, and as we were looking we went into a Christian books/gifts store on Moore Street, that looked like it was run by volunteers. The display of new and second-hand goods was pretty good in places, but still a long way from the professional but commercial of a Wesley Owen shop. It had a little café, adorned with a complete jumble of every kind of Christian poster and prayer. We got 2 lattes to takeaway, and were told that there was no charge for them, though we were invited to leave a donation and/or a prayer for God's work in the Cotswolds. The coffee turned out to be less than impressive, but I think the attitude they had was. It seems a bold sign and reminder that God provides, and that they were trusting him to do that. And within that it allows hospitality and aid for those that can't afford it - a concrete way of showing God's particular concern for the poor and oppressed. (Though, you do have to wonder how many poor and oppressed are likely to be living in or visiting a small Cotswolds village?)To bring this too-long story to a close, I'm happy to report that the next day we hit success at The Riverside Cafe, overlooking Kings Bridge. They produced a pretty good latte and mocha, in generous-sized glasses. (And good soup and danish pastries as well.) So, it took a day, but now we know where to get a good coffee - which they also do take-away. Recommended.

AuthorJonathan Clark